When a band's sound infiltrates the dense ranks of metal and hardcore, there's a tendency to avoid subtlety of any sort and allow the weight of the music to convince listeners that it's worth their attention. For Chattanooga metal outfit Tyrants, there is a howling cacophony present, but they also work in a good deal of melodicism that frames each song in a variable rhythmic perspective. It still sounds as though a ton of bricks has been dumped on your head, but there's nuance to these volatile sounds, outlining a detailed infrastructure that gives the band the chance to explore these clanging echoes free from restraint or expectation.
On their new EP, "Hostile," the band triggers a series of nuclear detonations that threaten to engulf them, fiery metal rhythms that rend the air and fire off concussive blasts that shake the bones in your body. It's heavy, loud and quite devastating. But that's really the heart of hardcore and metalcore sounds—that ability to effect change through volume and gravity. The guitars offer up a crushing and scorched earth noise, the kind of incendiary, blackened rock turbulence that bands like Converge and Pig Destroyer have perfected over the years. These songs stomp and hurl themselves over endless ravines, achieving a metal euphoria that frees them from the usual conventions of the genre.
Opening with the brief viciousness of "Happy Endings," they quickly set about creating a collection of volcanic musical movements, each one more intense and monstrous than the last. But metal (like any genre) can't properly hit with the force of a hurricane if each song quickly leaves your mind after ending—there must be something there for listeners to latch on to. And Tyrants pack more than enough scarred melodies into their work, revealing both their tenacity in approaching the music from unique angles and their understanding of the foundations of the genre itself. Tracks such as "Cherophobic" and "Gutter" revel in their grimy, distorted rhythms, delivering a kick to the chest unlike anything you're likely to hear this year.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.